It’s 1996 and tonight’s that momentous occasion you’ve been waiting for. It’s your middle school dance and you are beyond pumped. You ordered your dress from Delia’s two months ago, picked up some gem tattoos from Claire’s, and Tommy, the class JTT doppelganger and your crush since birth (or 5th grade), is your boyfriend date.

Did I mention you are excited? If you are even a little uncertain of those prepubescent feelings, just take a look at that cool mood ring you’ve been sporting since the summer. Try to get past that silly green stain it’s left behind on your finger and really just focus on the beauty that is this precious, all-knowing gem. What’s that? You’re blue with a little yellow? How does it know you so well!? You ARE optimistic for a good night, but still a little anxious – what if Tommy tries to hold your hand? Mood ring, you nailed it.

Now that your “true” feelings have been squared away, it’s time to work your magic on your hair. Round up your girlfriends and tell them to bring over their butterfly clip collection – sparkly, two-toned, animated (the ones with the springy wings) – you want it all, you’re going to look so good tonight, like, so good. Bust out that spray gel and get to making that twisty-cornrow-esque looking do, secure them with butterfly clips and bam, it’s like they effortlessly flew right out of your stomach and onto your head. With an affirmative mirror check and a quick mental note to “always do your hair this good,” you’re off and you’re looking like the little diva you think you are.

Fast-forward 17 years and we’re 20-somethings, we’re nostalgic, and we’re judging. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Questionable fashion choices have been around since the beginning of time and in the spirit of equality, we’ve all been victims. Rarely, if ever, has anyone gotten out of life, let alone teenage/prepubescent years, without one, two or 32 fashion faux pas that they’d rather forget. At the end of the day, they are all experiences that have helped shape who we are both in our clothes and out in the real world. Besides, going through that old box of photos (yes, “box of photos,” sorry, Facebook, that’s where these live) just wouldn’t be quite as amusing if we always looked like we stepped off the cover of Teen Vogue. What a perfect reminder that fashion should be fun and always be a representation of ourselves – even if that ‘self’ is a little bit silly.

What’s your favorite ‘regrettable-but-awesome-at-the-time’ fashion choice?


Hair clip image via ShutterStock.